Boston has some of the cleanest drinking water in the country, and Facilities Management & Planning works with the Boston Water and Sewer Commission to ensure that the BU community has ready access to it.


Concerted efforts to reduce the University’s water consumption have been ongoing for two decades. On the Charles River Campus, consumption has dropped 31% since 1991. While progress has certainly been made, there’s still much more work to be done.

In partnership with sustainability@BU and the Sustainability Committee, FM&P is continuously working to identify and implement opportunities throughout the campus—from innovative technologies to behavioral changes—that reduce water waste.

“I’ve empowered the staff to incorporate best practices to conserve water,” says William J. Walter, FM&P’s assistant vice president for operations and services. Staff are able to implement changes on their own by working within their budgets to purchase items such as energy-saving shower heads, without having to go through time-consuming approval channels. “Everything we do is working toward the ultimate goal of conserving resources and best practices,” Walter says. And anytime BU renovates a space, water-saving upgrades are always included in the project.

BU was one of the first universities to install bottle fill-up stations at a major sports workout facility (FitRec). This pilot program provided a sanitary way for users to fill a reusable bottle at the water fountain. An LCD screen displays the number of plastic bottles that have been saved by calculating the number of people who have filled up. A variety of strategies have been implemented across campus, including:

To help conserve water on campus:

  • Report all water leaks and clogs to Facilities Management & Planning.
  • Limit showers to five minutes or less.
  • Shut off faucets when brushing your teeth, shaving, and washing dishes.
  • Operate washing machines and dishwashers only when full, and on economy cycle.
  • Keep a bottle in the refrigerator instead of running the tap water until it’s cold.
  • Instead of discarding small amounts of water left in drinking glasses, your pet’s bowl, or from cooking, use it to water house plants.